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The Cost of a Data Breach in 2023 & What It Means for Your Cybersecurity ROI

According to IBM’s annual report, the average cost of a data breach in 2023 is $4.45 million. With a price tag that high, it’s no surprise that 60% of companies that experience a data breach close their doors within six months after an attack. Numbers like these are eye opening, and show that it is worth investing in cybersecurity to protect your business from a costly breach, but how can you be sure that your cybersecurity ROI is where it should be? 

Today, cybersecurity is no longer an option; with 66% of small and medium businesses attacked last year, it’s a necessity no matter the size of your business. Many companies get hung up on the cost, or are overwhelmed by the number of cybersecurity vendors or tools currently available.

A cost-effective way to get end-to-end protection and prevent data breaches is through Cybersecurity as a Service (CSaaS). Top-tier solutions include everything you need to protect your digital assets and network from intrusion, and to enable rapid detection, response, and recovery–which equates to a greater cybersecurity ROI. 

Let’s explore how the cost of a data breach affects your cybersecurity ROI.

How Much Can a Data Breach Cost You?

Data breaches are not just enormously costly, they are often avoidable. Imagine a scenario where hackers attack a medium-sized company, exposing 50,000 consumer records that contain PII (personally identifiable information). That company may spend upwards of $2.5 million cleaning up the mess, paying fines, notifying customers, providing free identity theft protection, and securing the network. The cost of cybersecurity would be a small fraction of that cost and could help avoid the attack altogether.

The formula for calculating cybersecurity ROI is this:

Breach Reduction = Breach Likelihood (%) x Breach Impact ($)

The reduction of financial losses is essentially your ROI. You come to that figure by taking the breach likelihood (%) and multiplying that by the breach impact in dollars. 

Another way to look at it is to divide your cybersecurity investment into your breach reduction. For example, if you considered spending an additional $300,000 for cybersecurity protection and your risk reduction was $3,000,000, your ROI would be 10x. With CSaaS costs are usually notably lower, meaning an even higher ROI.

Other factors to consider when you are measuring cybersecurity ROI are:

● Asset valuation and the related risk.

● Vulnerability — how vulnerable is your data?

● The severity of an attack.

● Threat level.

● Asset exposure.

● Security controls in place.

According to Forbes Magazine, cybercrime cost businesses $6.9 billion in 2021 and the following year, only 43% of U.S. companies felt financially secure enough to weather an attack. That is why maximizing your cybersecurity efforts and improving your ROI is essential.

The Long-Term Impacts of a Data Breach 

Data breaches can devastate a company regardless of size. SMBs will be most affected, and many will go bankrupt or have to shut down completely, but enterprise companies are not without risk. Beyond the financial losses, there are other even more damaging effects of a data breach.

Some of the devastating long-term impacts of a data breach include:

● Loss of company credibility and customers’ trust.

● CEO reputation damage.

● Stock plunge.

● Negative online reputation, which is difficult to erase.

● Sales plummeting.

● Extra expenses.

● Loss of intellectual property or trade secrets.

● Business disruption and system downtime.

● Exposure of employee, customer, or vendor data, putting them at risk of identity theft or fraud.

● Scare off reputable employee candidates.

● Legal issues and compliance sanctions.

6 Ways to Maximize Your Cybersecurity ROI 

Your cybersecurity investment directly impacts your cybersecurity ROI. When faced with the possibility of catastrophic losses, it’s easy to see why maximizing your cybersecurity budget is critical. A typical company spends roughly 6-14% of its IT budget on cybersecurity. Usually, those same companies invest 3.2% of their gross revenue in IT spending. Although cybersecurity threats are rising, IT budgets are being cut due to the economic climate and problems across every industry. It’s more important than ever before to maximize your cybersecurity dollars.

To maximize your cybersecurity budget:

  1. Be Proactive: Take a proactive approach rather than a reactive one. Perform a complete security audit and identify weak areas. Concentrate your cybersecurity budget on those areas.
  2. Protect Your Data: Protect your company data at all costs. Invest in effective detection tools, network monitoring, secure email, access control, authentication barriers, and keep good backups. Prioritize protecting your “sensitive” data that contains personal information on people or company trade secrets.
  3. Invest in Training: Invest heavily in cybersecurity awareness training for all staff members to help prevent attacks. Additionally, cultivate a cybersecurity culture within the company. The majority of attacks start with human behaviors, and your staff can be your first line of defense against intrusions.
  4. Outsource Cybersecurity: Outsourcing your cybersecurity will allow you to reduce the number of IT staff and ensure rapid response and recovery. Be sure to upgrade hardware and software to save money in the long run and prevent attacks on known vulnerabilities.
  5. Institute a Zero-Trust Model: Using a zero-trust model to reduce your attack surface and limit devices connected to your network.
  6. Implement a CSaaS Solution: Consider CSaaS (Cybersecurity as a Service) to affordably protect against data breaches. CSaaS is a complete package solution that covers everything from 24/7 monitoring and attack prevention to rapid response and recovery after an event. You pay for CSaaS on a subscription model and get top-tier cost-effective protection. Referring back to the cybersecurity ROI formula, reducing breaches while optimizing cybersecurity spend is the ultimate method to increase cybersecurity ROI.

Cyberleaf’s CSaaS Solution Maximizes Your Cybersecurity Budget

It’s essential to spend your cybersecurity dollars wisely. As discussed above, breach reduction is the clearest way to maximize your cybersecurity ROI, choosing the best tools and services is the most direct path to cutting down on high-impact breaches.  

Cyberleaf CSaaS offers businesses affordable top-tier protection that can be deployed by your existing resources in a fraction of the time of doing it yourself. With Cyberleaf, you get a team of experts at your disposal, active threat mitigation, 24/7 detection, alerts, and response, as well as advanced protection that your own IT department may not be able to provide.

You cannot put a price on protection against digital threats. Hackers are improving their game every day; you must keep up. Using Cyberleaf’s CSaaS, you are not only protecting your valuable digital assets but also drastically improving your cybersecurity ROI in the process. Learn more about Cyberleaf’s CSaaS and how we can help protect your company.

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Jonathan Meyn

Director of Channel Sales

Jonathan is responsible for the Channel Strategy at Cyberleaf. He has over 10 years of experience in various technology solutions sales leadership roles. He has driven cybersecurity strategy and growth within the nation’s leading managed service providers.

Jonathan has a Communications Degree from Pennsylvania State University.

Brant Feldman


Brant served in Naval Special Warfare for 11 years.  He separated as a Lieutenant Commander having served at SEAL Team TWO, SEAL Team FOUR, and SEAL Team SIX.  Following his Naval service, Brant joined ADS in 2008 and was ultimately promoted to Chief Sales Officer, where he directed all sales, supplier, and marketing efforts.  His team was comprised of over 200 sales professionals who drove $3.2B in annual sales.  In 2022, Brant left ADS to pursue opportunities in Private Equity.

Brant has a Juris Doctorate from the University of Virginia School of Law, an Executive MBA from the Darden School of Business and degrees in Economics and Government from the University of Virginia.

Will Sendall


Will served as Chief Financial Officer to various private equity and VC backed high growth technology companies where he managed the financial and operational functions.  Will has also successfully executed multiple debt and equity fundraising processes and led both buy and sell sides of M&A processes.

Will has a MBA from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill and a degree in Accounting from Appalachian State University. 

Marshall Howard

Executive Vice President

Marshall is responsible for engineering and project management for Waterleaf. He has over 20 years of executive experience across startup operations and Fortune 500 companies in multiple areas including Operations, Engineering, Technology Implementation, Business Planning/Budgeting, Finance/M&A, Revenue Assurance, and Regulatory Affairs.

Previously Marshall served as a Vice President at T3 Communications, Inc., a Fort Myers, FL-based CLEC and managed services provider. Before joining T3, Marshall served as VP of Network Technology and Business Development at Cleartel Communications (now part of Birch Communications), where he played a major role in acquiring and integrating three other CLECs.

Marshall earned a BS in Physics from Rhodes College, an MSEE from Vanderbilt University, an MBA from Southern Methodist University, and completed post-graduate work in Finance and Economics at Vanderbilt University. In addition, he has earned a Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, and last but not least, he is a Certified CMMC Assessor.

David Levitan


David has over 30 years of experience as a telecommunications industry executive, leading technology and services organizations that have designed, built, and maintained fiber and wireless infrastructure across the US and internationally. He has extensive development, product marketing and general management experience operating independent, sponsor-backed, and publicly traded companies.

David’s previous experience includes executive leadership roles in start-up and publicly traded companies. As President of C-COR Network Services, he drove over 30% sales growth through a team of 400 employees delivering network infrastructure services for broadband operators, while also serving as an officer of parent company C-COR, Inc. At Scientific-Atlanta, Inc David held a progression of leadership and executive positions as the broadband division grew from ~$100 million to over $1.5 billion in annual sales. During his tenure he held product management, strategic planning, and general management roles, including overseeing the rapid growth of the company’s largest business unit, and establishing and scaling a unit delivering domestic and international professional services. As Vice President of CableMatrix, David also helped raise $5 million in series A venture funding for a policy management software startup.

David completed his undergraduate work at Cornell University with a BA in Economics and holds an MBA from the Harvard Graduate School of Business. 

Adam Sewall


Adam has been a successful senior executive and entrepreneur in the telecomm industry for more than 20 years. Adam has demonstrated success in complex technology deployments, as well as strategic planning, corporate development M&A, business development, operations, and general management. This experience also includes several significant liquidity events for shareholders.

Adam has had significant experience in the design, deployment, and operation of fiber, cellular, point-to-point and other communications networks in the US, Asia and SE Asia. Included in these deployments are AMPS, GSM, CDMA/TDMA, spread spectrum, Wi-Max/Wi-Fi and various Metro and long-haul fiber networks.

Prior to Waterleaf Adam was the President and CEO of T3 Communications Inc. www.t3com.net a next generation CLEC based in Florida. He has also held executive management positions in operations, strategic planning and corporate development at T-Mobile and Verizon Wireless.

Adam’s technical background includes work in RF engineering, SDR, mobile s/w development, hardware engineering and telecommunications architecture. His project management and operations background include certifications in project management, GSM/PCS, numerous telecom standards and the successful integration of complex infrastructure as well as global deployments of software and communications networks.

He holds a BS Degree from SUNY and has completed graduate studies in engineering, finance, mathematics and economics at Stevens Institute, Columbia and Pace Universities.